Recipe: One Pot Soybean Sprout Rice (콩나물밥)

In addition to oodles of cold noodles in this sweltering heat, another life saver for meals at home has been one pot cooking dishes which also doesn't (or minimally) uses my gas stove.

Soybean sprout rice was one of my favorite simple dishes to eat at home growing up and I remember eating copious amounts of it with kimchi on the occasions my mom made it for dinner.

Traditionally or, as my mother normally made it, she would give the marinated beef a quick cook on the stove while the rice was cooking but since this is summer and I would like to keep the stove off as much as possible, this is my simpler recipe which can all be done in the rice cooker.

Soybean Sprout Rice (콩나물밥)
Makes 4 servings

You'll need:
- 1 pound (16 oz) of fresh Soybean Sprouts
- 2 cups of uncooked Rice
- 8 oz of lean ground Beef

For Beef marinade:
- 1 tbsp of Soy Sauce
- 1 tsp of Maesil Juice (optional)
- 1/2 tbsp of Cooking Wine or Soju (optional)
- 1/2 tbsp of minced Garlic
- 1 tsp of Sesame Oil
- 1 stalk of Green Onion, chopped
- A crack of Pepper

For the sauce:
- 2 Green Onion stalks, chopped
- 4 tbsp of Soy Sauce
- 1 tbsp of Red Chili Pepper Flakes
- 1 tbsp of minced Garlic
- 1 tbsp of Maesil Juice (or Sugar)
- 1/2 tbsp of Sesame Oil
- 1 tbsp of roasted Sesame Seeds

1. Begin by marinating your beef. Add all the ingredients for the beef marinade to your ground beef, mix thoroughly and set aside for at least 15 minutes.

Marinating the beef

2. Thoroughly wash your soybean sprouts and throw out any bad bits or the translucent "shells" from the sprouts. Doing this task in a large basin of water helps. Alternatively, you can go ahead and cook the soybean sprouts (covered) in boiling water with some salt for about 8-10 minutes and then use the cooked soybean sprouts water to cook your rice for added flavor.

Soybean sprouts can be cooked beforehand and added or cooked in the rice cooker together

3. Wash and drain your rice and add to your rice cooker. Spoon the marinated ground beef on top and then the soybean sprouts on top of the beef. Add slightly less water then you would to normally cook the rice alone (approximately a little less than 4 cups) as the soybean sprouts will release water (unless you already cooked the sprouts beforehand). Cook your rice in the rice cooker as you would ordinarily.

You can also choose to only cook the soybean sprouts and rice together in the rice cooker and the meat separately. If you choose to do it this way, just take your marinated beef and cook on medium high heat with some oil on a pan for a few minutes until they are cooked and set aside to be served on top of individual bowls when serving later.

Layer rice, beef and soybean sprouts in your rice cooker

4. Meanwhile, get your sauce ready by mixing all the ingredients for the sauce in a small side serving bowl. Giving it a little time to breathe after mixing will deepen the flavors

Taste and adjust as needed

5. When the rice is finished cooking, set aside the soybean sprouts temporarily. Spoon out the rice and beef into serving bowls and arrange some of the cooked soybean sprouts on top.

Serving in bowls will help make the mixing part easier

To eat, add a bit of the sauce, mix it all up, and taste and adjust as needed.

Mixed and ready to eat!

Your one rice cooker meal is now served! It goes wonderfully with some cool and ripened kimchi on the side.